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Alright I guess I'm gonna make another rant, and this one's been bugging me for the longest time. And I'm going to be as BLUNT as I will be and not sugar coat anything I'm about to say.

Often do I hear things like:

"what custom brushes do you use"

"how do you achieve this blur/ focus effect"

"how did you get the colors to go this way and that"

"what technique or computer program did you use"

What I rarely get asked for is:

"What did you study to be more efficient at drawing."

"What is an efficient way to study how to render certain types of materials"

"How do you practice proper lighting when painting?"

and etc...

Guys I'm just gonna say it now, there's no shortcut to art. I work primarily in digital mediums now but I do have a solid foundation in traditional mediums. I didn't simply go out and buy a $400 tablet and instantly got to where I am today. I use custom brushes and special effects in my pieces, but they only take up less than 3% of the overall work. There's still considerable amount of work that I apply in terms of composition, lighting, rendering, tonal values, colors, and dynamic flow of view. Special effects and custom brushes should not make or break the painting, what does make or break it is your ability as a competent artist to understand and convey your fundamental knowledge of painting and story telling to an audience.

I carry a sketchbook and draw in it everywhere I go, and the best thing about practice is, if you are doing it, you will get better. And if you see something anther artist does. Don't ask how he/she does it and expect an answer in a package. It doesn't work that way. A lot of artists out there including me started at a very young age, we practiced and kept at it no matter what, and that's how we are doing this today.

Whenever you see a piece be it traditional or digital and if the piece has a cool effect to it, and you really really want to replicate that effect, just start experimenting. MAKE MISTAKES! If you got the answer right away for 'this is exactly how I make this effect' (and I'm pretty sure you can google it up), what's the fun in learning? You'd be surprised at the amount of new things you can discover for yourself if you start to experiment, most likely what you sought after in the first place may not even end up being the thing you wanted.

You only benefit yourself from practicing, and often practicing the right way.

You want to learn how to be more efficient in human anatomy? Buy books on anatomy, go to life drawing classes and apply what you've learned from the books, practice, and repeat. Carry a sketchbook from you and draw anything you see.

You want to be more efficient at compositions? Watch movies and study how they place shots. Read a lot of graphic design magazines and pay extra attention on how they lay out sections of words vs. an image. Look at cubism, photography, and abstract paintings.

You wanna be more creative with your designs in terms of characters, creatures, and environments? Be a nerd and read the encyclopedia, read up stuff on different cultures and their history. Look up different religions and their history.

Wanna design cool and practical looking mech? Look at real military and civilian industrial hardware.

At the end of the day, I believe that a strong artist should focus less on custom brushes, special effect shortcuts. Yes you can get a custom brush on painting hair, yes you can get a custom brush that'll draw boulders and rocks in 2 seconds, and yes you can get a brush that draws 20 dicks in one stroke. A wise man once said "custom brushes will only make you faster at rendering, not a better artist".

So go out there and practice, make a lot of mistakes, and become a walking encyclopedia. Because it'll be 100x better than simply asking for a shortcut.

EZ
  • Playing: inside
  • Drinking: Till I look handsome
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:iconpencilspecter:
PencilSpecter Featured By Owner Oct 18, 2013  Student Traditional Artist
I prefer to render my dicks the old fashion way.. With skill!!
Reply
:iconapi-beast:
API-Beast Featured By Owner Feb 9, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I am seriously annoyed by this "Practice, Practice, Practice"-attitude. Now don't get me wrong, you raised valid concerns, but many artists are way too reluctant to share their knowledge. Sure, to become proficient at something you need to practice but often it is just the difference between understanding and not understanding. And that is where sharing knowledge helps, a lot. Why do so few people share what they found out in their studies? Why do so few people try to formulate the techniques they've developed?

I am fairly new to digital painting but learned pixel art before, and the community for it, albeit small, was a lot more helpful. Because people defined things, theories about how certain things work, because they were open about sharing knowledge with each other. It was in the end how I was able to learn it in a very short amount of time and without art background.
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:iconartdoge:
ArtDoge Featured By Owner Feb 9, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
The reasons why a lot of artists who don't share their "secret" (which btw is super easy to learn about if you know where to search :)) is because

A: It's a craft of art and has its trade secrets, would you ask a magician how he did his tricks?

B: Giving out all the secrets can be a double-edged sword. Sure it will help the ones who practice a lot, but it can mislead beginner artists trying to learn the proper way. For example if you are teaching an art student how to draw basic human anatomy, but all of a sudden you say "here is a tool that does all the anatomy for you and etc". Obviously that student will think oh yea that's way easier, why do I have to do everything manually?

C: Every famous artist living in the lime life will have his/her work imitated by the mass population. For example back in 2004 when everyone copied the style of James Jean. Couple of years back in 2011 when every popular painter mimicked the style of Sam Weber. People like copying and replicating things, and if a secret is spilled, the essence of that work loses value and mystique.

That's why I am for constant practice, even though you seem to believe that it gets nowhere, but trust me as long as you're practicing, you're moving forward.
Reply
:iconjosaho:
Josaho Featured By Owner Feb 16, 2013  Student Digital Artist
I completly agree with your points but you have to take something else in consideration to. Teaching people to see (not to look) at how art works is something that is very difficult and people try to overlook the fact that this is very important. You can only see if you practice, try out new stuff and look back at your progress.
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:iconcostumesbycourtney:
CostumesbyCourtney Featured By Owner Feb 6, 2013  Professional Artisan Crafter
"You wanna be more creative with your designs in terms of characters, creatures, and environments? Be a nerd and read the encyclopedia, read up stuff on different cultures and their history. Look up different religions and their history."

True, so true, I've always been like that and my work reflects it, never really connected the two though, I just assume everyone thinks like that.

It shits me when people, especially on DeviantArt harrass other artists basically asking them how they can magically go from crap to talented overnight. Everyone starts out with ugly artwork, I don't know a person on earth who just picked up a pencil/brush/ect and worked magic with it. It wasn't that long ago that I looked at my own work and thought 'oh well, this is as good as it will ever get'. But without being conscious of it, I just matured and so did my abilites. I still have a LONG way to go, but it's nice to see that there is a change.
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:iconydriss:
Ydriss Featured By Owner Feb 5, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Word! You pretty much said it all. It always surprises me anew whenever someone asks me "How did you do this" or "How can you do this?", and the moment I start telling them about the technicalities of the process they immediately lose interest. Or when I tell them that I started drawing at a young age. All too often people expect a magic spell or formula that'll give them instant success, but it clearly doesn't work that way!

I may not always comment on your art pieces but I am always in awe of your skills, composition, lighting and the way you draw proportions so accurately (: Thank you for this journal entry, I understand how frustrating it can be! (especially for you, you must receive countless questions such as those on a daily basis).
Reply
:iconsamannagene-ocide:
SamannaGene-ocide Featured By Owner Feb 4, 2013
where may i find this magical "20 dicks in one stroke" brush?
Reply
:iconapi-beast:
API-Beast Featured By Owner Feb 9, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Ooh, I need that one. For my dickapillar.
Reply
:iconblack-ronin1228:
black-ronin1228 Featured By Owner Feb 4, 2013  Professional General Artist
Couldn't agree with you more. Some of us started way back when we were 4, and haven't looked back since with our skills, so for us to assess what it is they want to know, and then put that 38 plus years of learning into a nutshell kinda makes them look stupid for even asking. :)
Reply
:iconcarriebest:
CarrieBest Featured By Owner Feb 3, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I find what you said here very inspiring and motivating! I think it's most important to develop as an artist this way, but I also think that piecing together techniques from tutorials can be helpful as well to a small extent. I've had in mind to contribute more tutorials to the community and I'm glad I read your journal because tuts can really only help you so much and I think it's worth noting for anyone who relies heavily on them.
Reply
:iconcarol-colors:
carol-colors Featured By Owner Feb 3, 2013
MPD T-shirt .... CHECK
Dick Brush .... CHECK
Reply
:iconbumble-boo:
bumble-boo Featured By Owner Feb 3, 2013  Student Artist
Yeah.... these questions are super annoying. One time someone sent me a threatening note because I wouldn't tell them how to make something.

The worst is coming up with polite ways to say, "No, because I don't want you to copy me". It's better for people to go out and find their own way, and like you said, make mistakes. It's the best way to learn.

But I think in the end some of those people that won't go out there and won't make mistakes won't make a living with art.
Reply
:iconchalktwins:
ChalkTwins Featured By Owner Feb 3, 2013  Professional Traditional Artist
I know people don't like that answer, but it really is true: if you want to get better, just practice. People come up to us all the time and just hang their head saying they will never get to where we are. It makes me so sad to hear people say that. I kinda want to slap them and say "Not with that attitude you won't!" It took us almost a decade to get where we are now...why would you give up before you even begin!?

Another thing is, I hate when people say they don't need to study art. In my experience, skill has never come super naturally to me. But the thing is, in school, I soaked up everything my teachers had to offer and I worked 100x more than the kids in my class. I don't know. Maybe if people are just naturals and really really dedicate themselves to improvement, they don't need classes. But for me, that's definitely how I became a better artist and tried things I never would have otherwise.

Like others have been saying, I am not where I want to be with my art yet. It's frustrating to admit but also a little exciting. I kinda want to look back on my art a year from now or five years from now and say, "That stuff I made was meh." I will be the first one to admit I need more practice and to study more.

Like you said, artists need to be nerds and read the encyclopedia. We feel like we need to have a basic understanding of almost everything to be a good artist. Anatomy, physics, literature, biology, architecture, history, sociology, philosophy etc. We collect books and images and ideas from all over the place! I'm a collector of ideas and what I learn and discuss with others eventually makes its way into my art.

Ok, sorry for the long post...

P.S. I totally need a link to that 20 dicks in one stroke brush. You never know when that will come in handy!
Reply
:iconmowendesigns:
MowenDesigns Featured By Owner Feb 3, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I'll admit I've asked about brushes before, but they were more generic brushes not like, "cloud" etc brushes. 8D Now that I have a set of 5 generic brushes I have I am trying to stick to those and practice with them though!

I've always embraced the walking encyclopedia thing, though I've found it exceedingly hard to find proper reference books for some subjects. I really like doing concept art, but I can't seem to find good reference books for different cultures and the kinds of things they wear, customs, etc. Do you have any suggestions for resources on various cultures? I typically like giant books on one subject (animals, history, military history, etc) but haven't found one that has been what I wanted for cultural / costume reference.

Also this month I'm practicing anatomy! (it is so scary)

Thanks ahead of time if you have any suggestions for books, or not.
Reply
:iconartdoge:
ArtDoge Featured By Owner Feb 3, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
sure. Recommendation for books really depends, though I can't specifically recall a title of books, you can look into genres. For cultural books, DK encyclopedia and eyewitness books have a BUNCH published on ancient cultures and their mythologies.

Military stuff, again DK is your go to kind of publishers for endless references on those things.
Reply
:iconmowendesigns:
MowenDesigns Featured By Owner Feb 3, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Yeah, I love DK. I have several of their books - History, Military History, Animal, Bird. Didn't think to just get an encyclopedia. I will check out the eyewitness books. Thanks. :)
Reply
:iconnatasherz:
Natasherz Featured By Owner Feb 3, 2013  Student Digital Artist
I agree 100%, this is some great advice. I took a drawing and painting class in high school and the techniques I learned in it really did help myself become a better digital artist, especially because the teacher was really great about giving critique on your pieces in the process, definitely learned a lot from it. But anyway, thanks for the journal!
Reply
:iconcombustocrat:
combustocrat Featured By Owner Feb 3, 2013  Professional General Artist
This, this, a thousand times this.
Reply
:iconexquisiteoath:
exquisiteoath Featured By Owner Feb 3, 2013  Student General Artist
I think I do have one issue with what you've written here; "Most people started at any extremely young age"...

It's probably more accurate to say "Whatever age you start at, expect it to take years to get where you want." Loomis, writing close to a 100 years ago believed it didn't matter how old or young you started, Van Gogh didn't start really studying until his late teens; there have been other very succesful artists who started in full adulthood.

For myself, I've been drawing (to some degree or another) since I was 15, 20+ years ago. It was only in the last couple of years that I've really started taking the mechanical act of drawing very seriously, and it's paying off for me. I'm not at the "share in public" stage yet, but I know my work is getting where I need it to.
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:iconartdoge:
ArtDoge Featured By Owner Feb 3, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
Exactly, I'm just using the examples that I am most familiar with when it comes to age and experience. But this line of work, like any other professional discipline takes years develop. And for people who are struggling despite the tons of practice, as long as you are practicing, you're making progression. Maybe try different approach. Maybe it is time for you to show your talent in a public place, if that's what it takes for you to further your skills then so be it. Show what you have done to others and ask for their feedback. Like going to the gym and working out constantly, you'll improve at a much faster rate if you're doing your reps and sets properly.
Reply
:iconexquisiteoath:
exquisiteoath Featured By Owner Feb 3, 2013  Student General Artist
That's a very valid point about getting feedback on practice, it's not just about feedback on the work.

For myself personally, I will be sharing my work very soon, but I have certain goals in mind that I want to reach before I do. At that point I'll be VERY open to feedback.
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:iconartdoge:
ArtDoge Featured By Owner Feb 3, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
Yea man! totally looking forward to seeing your stuff! keep me updated and good luck!
Reply
:iconexquisiteoath:
exquisiteoath Featured By Owner Feb 3, 2013  Student General Artist
Will do, and thank you.
Reply
:iconconceptbloke:
Conceptbloke Featured By Owner Feb 3, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
CTRL ALT DEL - that's my fave shortcut!

LOL

Well said.
Reply
:iconartdoge:
ArtDoge Featured By Owner Feb 3, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
End Task is your fav short cut? I think you meant ctrl + Alt + Z
Reply
:iconmugenmcfugen:
MugenMcFugen Featured By Owner Feb 3, 2013   Digital Artist
THIS. Thisthisthisthis!!

Although, I wished I had some sort of teacher when it comes to digital painting, all I had up till now is traditional ones and on top of that, they were sort of ''bad'' (they never let me take ''illustrative'' approach to my drawings and paintings), thankfully I worked on that thing by myself at home. And I still have shitload of work to do, now that I'm done with my uni.

Thanks for this journal!
Reply
:iconartdoge:
ArtDoge Featured By Owner Feb 3, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
Yea but look at how your digital painting stuff turned out! (I creeped ur gallery) and they're super cool! You're your own best teacher when it comes to learning!!!
Reply
:iconmugenmcfugen:
MugenMcFugen Featured By Owner Jun 17, 2013   Digital Artist
Oh wow, thanks dude, it means a lot! I was bit of dead from dA, so sorry for late reply!! :lol:
Reply
:icondblac:
DBlac Featured By Owner Feb 3, 2013  Student Digital Artist
Wrong place to say this, i gave up long ago.. on the site and the people in it.
Reply
:iconartdoge:
ArtDoge Featured By Owner Feb 3, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
but this is the perfect place to say it. Tons of beginner artists on here as well as professionals. I think everyone experienced and inexperienced should at least have this on the back of their mind.
Reply
:icondblac:
DBlac Featured By Owner Feb 3, 2013  Student Digital Artist
That is true, and i commend your efforts, certainly there are people here worth it, but ive had it with the rest. The site is a sham full of children or adults who never grew up. There are too many unpleasant elements for me to bother with, and for a long time now ive decided not to put my work up on the internet, outside of a future site of my own. The reason i say that is because there are too many asslickers around here, people who will agree with you on anything just because youre a better, and thus more popular artist, but not really learn from what you say. A huge amount of dA's residents dont actually care about art, or improving what they do, they just treat it as a popularity contest. Ive seen the dark corners of this site, and much like Rorschach says, its hard to turn away from the ugly underbelly, once youve seen it. Again, that is not true for all, but for too many for me to bother with this site. You, as you treat it more professionaly and with more apathy (i would suppose), likely dont care, but ive had too many negative experiances here. Its become just one more half dead account i casually browse through when i have nothing to do.
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:iconartdoge:
ArtDoge Featured By Owner Feb 3, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
Well to be fair, I started on this website 9 years ago and always have been active here, and I just kept finding more artists who shared the same passion as I did for learning and got to where I am today.

I think you're probably taking the tone of the DA art community too negatively, I mean why associate yourself with artists that you don't like, no one's really forcing you to become a part of their popularity contest and etc. I'm sorry that you've had a rough experience with some parts of this art community. BUT!

Follow artists who strikes your interest and try to chat it up with them. I'm sure most of them are super chill for a couple of chats, and you'd be surprised at what you can learn from them. It's just like any entertainment industry, just keep your vision focused on what appeals to you the most and emerge yourself in that subsection, and you'll most likely have a great time :) Hope that helps, and please keep practicing your crafts!
Reply
:icondblac:
DBlac Featured By Owner Feb 3, 2013  Student Digital Artist
Hmm, perhaps youre right. As for why associate with them, well, when i first got onto the site (i dont even remember how many years ago.. i think i mightve been around 14-16 years old) i spent a large portion of time among them, being young and naive. They did show their true faces eventually.

But i guess you are right, i should try and just put that aside... I guess the only other thing halting me from doing anything much on here, is how little ive ben able to create lately on account of university work and stress, but time and perseverance will solve that.

Thank you, youve more or less opened my eyes, and rest assured i will, i havent fought this long to drop everything :D

You keep up the excellence as well!
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:iconsuzanne-helmigh:
Suzanne-Helmigh Featured By Owner Feb 3, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
Amen!
Reply
:iconartdoge:
ArtDoge Featured By Owner Feb 3, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
Yo brooo can I get your brushes to paint like Craig Mullins? How long do you spend on a painting???? can you plox teach me your custom brushes wayszzZZ?!??!?!!
Reply
:iconsuzanne-helmigh:
Suzanne-Helmigh Featured By Owner Feb 3, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
yo braah.
Do you use photos? Do you do color picking? Do you do everything with tricks, like color dodge? do you even paint? I mean commonnnn tell everyone what a cheat you are...
Reply
:iconartdoge:
ArtDoge Featured By Owner Feb 3, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
Yooo only digital technical. low drawing. and no Creativity that.

Stand and Fight me. Bro!
Reply
:iconsuzanne-helmigh:
Suzanne-Helmigh Featured By Owner Feb 3, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
hahaha Can't beat that one... unless: Suck a D*ck B*tch ass mother F*ck*r
Reply
:iconperkcasso:
perkcasso Featured By Owner Feb 3, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Well said. The best thing about experimenting is that I not only learned the effect that I wanted to learn but I learned a few others that were intriguing to me as well; new ways of doing things that I liked better than what I was originally going after. I learned much more about the limitiations and the possibilities of the medium I was working in. Huzzah and many kudos to you.
Reply
:iconenigmaticworld:
enigmaticworld Featured By Owner Feb 3, 2013  Professional Artisan Crafter
As someone wise said "you don't want to know how. You want the skill on a golden plate" x)
Reply
:iconjmart-art:
jmart-art Featured By Owner Feb 4, 2013  Professional General Artist
a better phrase to use for the words that come from the uninformed.
Reply
:iconkopuli:
Kopuli Featured By Owner Feb 3, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
This should be put as a sticky to DA's front page.
Reply
:iconljrico:
LjRico Featured By Owner Feb 3, 2013
Yo where can i go for that 20-dicks-in-one-stroke brush. Sounds ballin.
Reply
:iconartdoge:
ArtDoge Featured By Owner Feb 3, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
Guy all I do is put my sausage down on the scanner, and show shawties a good time in photoshop.
Reply
:icontheabyssalsymphony:
TheAbyssalSymphony Featured By Owner Feb 3, 2013  Student General Artist
Great advise, though it did make me think, what is an efficient way to study how to render metal, cause I have such a hard time with it, also do you know any good books for drawing the human figure
Reply
:iconkopuli:
Kopuli Featured By Owner Feb 3, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
[link] All you need.
Reply
:iconartdoge:
ArtDoge Featured By Owner Feb 3, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
Good books for anatomy that I use and very beginner friendly is called 'Figure Drawing: Design and Invention by Michael Hampton.' Amazon that and it'll also suggest more books that are like it.
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:iconpharan:
Pharan Featured By Owner Feb 3, 2013  Student General Artist
People don't know what they don't know. They can only make assumptions on what's important based on what they notice and based on vague terms that people throw around. You can't really blame them for not magically knowing how stuff work when good, thorough and precise descriptions of ideas and best practices are few and far between. This information is fragmented and littered among all the words in the interwebs or hiding behind cliques or paywalls or foreign languages.

We'd be lucky if, someday, we could orient ourselves about the big pictures of the fields we're interested in and where best to put our efforts by just googling "what should I know about _____?" and then shortly being able to start engaging in productive dialog with the world at large.
And I will say, it takes some maturity to tell good tips from stupid tips, and even more maturity to understand that artistic skill is not a big collection of art tips any more than an axiology is a collection of dos and don'ts.

I say the best thing that experienced (and formally trained) people can do is spread well-contextualized knowledge around.
Those are my thoughts, anyway. I'm a big fan of the open learning movement and the painty-drawy side of visual art is just painfully lagging behind math, computer engineering and various sciences in terms of having readily available resources for learning the fundamentals.

On a related note, you should pass this around: [link]
Reply
:iconenigmaticworld:
enigmaticworld Featured By Owner Feb 4, 2013  Professional Artisan Crafter
Can I throw my 3 cents in? Sure I can, thanks. Okay. So I think it's not like that to the core. It's true that some of the knowledge could be useful and spread around, but that's not as important in art. Art is lagging painfully behind strict science, because in strict science you know 1+1=2 and no other way around it. It's easy to learn that. In art, there are no rights or wrongs, it may only be different. 1+1 might as well be 5 or 7, and both options are equally as right.
In art, rules of it are meant to be extracted from the world around by yourself, and they'll only work for you. It's a hard lesson. There might be color theory, anatomy and all that crap, but how you extract these rules and how you apply them (if at all) makes for the whole difference in each person's style. There not even right or wrong way to hold a pencil or lay down a line.
Art can't be taught. It may be only discovered.

That's my opinion on this :]
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:iconpharan:
Pharan Featured By Owner Feb 4, 2013  Student General Artist
I've heard "You can't teach art" as the single most counterproductive excuse for art teachers who have given up or been overwhelmed by the rainbow of things that expert people consider art. I've already heard like... 3.. 4 good teachers say so. XD

It's an imaginary line that divides art and science.
A field called by either name have the same capacity to absorb a person and involve the same creative capacities. Imagining shapes and abstract relationships, observing things really closely, abstracting realities, making metaphors and drawing inspiration from seemingly unrelated things, planning, experimenting, being playful and silly. They involve tools and best practices and profound ideas that have been pondered on and refined and tested for centuries.

Just because some people had to fumble around with the artform they liked in frustration and turned out great in the end doesn't mean those people have nothing useful to share to others regarding the most advanced or the most fundamental things, and certainly doesn't mean everyone else has to live the same life. Many skilled people have been taught successfully. Many taught people also bellyache about how stupidly some teachers and entire schools teach. If there's a hard lesson, it's that not everyone's a good teacher.

By a decent teacher, foundational aspects of our art can be communicated and taught just as well as any other thing that involves passion, knowledge and skills built on top of each other.

My view is that all fields experience some degree of pluralism of ideas and before it can really flourish, it needs to recognize those diverse ideas into a coherent history and structure so its practitioners can retain uniqueness while standing firm on the shoulders of their giants, or jump and fly off if they need to. Visual art has long crossed that line.
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